Editor's Note: We were such big fans of Jeff S's Gigantic WM5 Smackdown we asked him to be a regular writer. Jeff's in, and his first review takes a look at one of the most popular cases for the Treo 750: the Smartphone Experts Leather Hardcase.
The SPE Leather Hardcase for the Treo 750 is a slip-on case that blends usability with protection to offer a competent choice for users that are looking for a case that gives full time access to the screen and keyboard while wanting some extra protection for everyday use. I'm personally always on the lookout to find cases that will give my devices protection while adding as little bulk as possible as I like to carry my devices in my pocket. Will I be able to end my seemingly perpetual search for the perfect case or will my hunt continue? Read the full review to find out!
Design and Fit
Smartphone Experts did an almost perfect job of creating this case to fit the Treo 750. Slipping the Treo in and out is quite simple, although the snug fit offers some resistance in this process. This is far from a negative; in fact, I believe that it's a great part of the design as it will keep the Treo in the case without any danger of it accidentally slipping or falling out of it.
The front of the case is completely open from the top of the screen down to the bottom edge of the phone. This design allows all hardware keys on the face of the device as well as the keyboard to be easily accessed as none of the buttons are covered by any part of the case. The screen is fully exposed with almost no obstruction. Cutouts for the earpiece and LED are of similar quality, allowing users to hear conversations normally and to view the status of the LED without any difficulty.
The back of the case has cutouts for the stylus, speaker, and camera that were measured perfectly. SPE definitely took some time when they were creating this case. The back also has a nub for a removable belt clip. Allow me to comment on this nub for a moment. It is probably my least favorite part of this otherwise excellent case as it protrudes a good 2mm from the back of the case. This is definitely not a major issue, but it is something that could bother those of you that are like me and like to put their devices in pockets instead of clipping them to your belt. But I digress.
The belt clip works well as removing and securing the Treo from/to your belt works without issue. It's a standard 360-swivel clip that does not "ratchet." However, I do see a potential issue with the use of this belt clip as it leaves the front of the device completely exposed to the elements and dangers of the outside world. A touchscreen won't fare very well against bumps on corners of desks, so do be careful if you clip this case to your belt.
The sides of the case are mostly open allowing simple access to the volume buttons and programmable side button on the left side of the device and easy access to the IR port and miniSD slot on the right side of the device. In my testing, I found that the miniSD slot was as easy to open as if there was no case. Wonderful design here.
The top of the case is left open as it is how the Treo 750 is slid into the case. The top and bottom lip do extend a slight bit over the top of the Treo; however, the corners at the top of the device are left exposed which could lead to some scratches if dropped just right.
The bottom of the case leaves the connector ports as well as the headset jack exposed. SPE did a great job at measuring the opening of the case on this side as well.
The SPE Leather Hardcase is exactly what the name states. The case is made of hard plastic and covered with leather on the outside and soft cloth material on the inside to protect your Treo 750 from scratches and some light bumps. The leather allows the case to have a grippier feel, making it less prone to slips and drops from your hand while retaining a smooth texture. The case itself is extremely light and adds a small amount of bulk, although I would prefer it to be a bit thinner overall. I performed the pocket test and the device-in-case did fit in my jeans pocket without making it too uncomfortable. I did notice a difference compared to a naked Treo, but the difference was indeed small.
After using the SPE Leather Hardcase, I can confidently state that it is a great case for anyone looking for some extra protection without losing any functionality of the Treo 750. In fact, the only time one should have to remove the case is to access the battery or SIM card. Otherwise, it can be left on continuously without any need for removal (Editor's note: The Treo 750 will not fit in a standard cradle with the case on).
Although this is an excellent case, my search continues as I'm an extremely picky person when it comes to cases and am usually apt to carrying my devices naked more than anything else. However, the case is good enough for me to frequently use, particularly when I'm in need of extra protection. Smartphone Experts should be commended for its close attention to detail and great build quality!